Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Julia Dimon
Occupation: TV Travel Host. Travel Journalist. Author of “Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel”
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Short bio: Julia Dimon is a hard-core adventuress, travel journalist and TV travel personality who has traveled around the world to over 80 countries across all seven continents. She’s the co-host of Word Travels, a 40-episode TV series about the real lives of travel writers, broadcast worldwide on National Geographic Adventure and Travel Channel international. She’s been featured as a travel expert by outlets such as CNN, ABC Nightline, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, E! News, Forbes Traveler, and MSNBC.
From the depths of the Great Barrier Reef to the top of Machu Picchu, Julia has hiked with silverback gorillas in Uganda, snorkeled with whale sharks in Mozambique, climbed the Great Wall of China, dog-sledded in Greenland, camel trekked in Jordan, slept with lions in the Serengeti, and snacked on local delicacies such as silk worm, goat brain, six-inch scorpions, snake blood, and severed human toe. She’s the author of “Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel” and the popular blog traveljunkiejulia.com.
What is your new book about? “Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel” offers practical travel tips for aspiring hard-core travelers. It’s an insider’s look at how to travel smart and beat the system, such as how to score a good deal online, pack like a pro, navigate around hidden fees, travel solo, and stay safe while on the road. After a decade of being a professional travel writer, exploring some 80 countries across all 7 continents, I accumulated a lot of crazy stories and experiences—everything from getting radioactive in Chernobyl to meeting Black Panther revolutionaries in Tanzania. This book shares what I’ve learned over the years, including the travel tips and tricks, as well as the do’s and don’ts while traveling. Each chapter is interspersed with uncensored, diary-style confessionals from my real life adventures; from the wrestling rings of South America, to the genocide memorials of Rwanda, the gladiator training camps of Italy, to notorious maximum security prisons in Thailand. Most importantly, my book “Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel” is intended to inspire and empower people to travel. It aims to ignite your inner travel junkie and motivate you to travel longer, go further and play harder.
How often do you fly? Depends on the year. I’ve been in the biz full-time for ten years, so there were years where I was checking off a new country every week, other years where I’d take a trip every few months. I’ve done alooooooot of flying and have been frisked by more TSA officers than I care to admit. I’m still hoping someone will invent a teleportation device, so I can avoid taking off my shoes at security.
How many countries have you been to: 83
How many continents have you been to: All seven.
Favorite American city: New York.
Favorite international city: Paris.
Least favorite country: Hmmm. Don’t really have one. A bad experience somewhere doesn’t mean a bad country. There’s something redeemable in every place I’ve been to.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Petra in Jordan. Unbelievable!
Favorite airline: I’ve always enjoyed my service on Cathay Pacific in Business Class. I recently flew Air New Zealand from Los Angeles and their service was great!
Favorite aircraft type: I rarely pay attention to the aircraft. As long as there are seat belts and the doors close, I’m happy.
Aisle or window: Aisle. So I can regularly get up to stretch my legs and not feel guilty for making my neighbor move.
Favorite airport lounge: Since I live in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time in LAX. The Star Alliance business class lounge at the Tom Bradley International Terminal is pretty swanky with a cool outdoor terrace and great selection of California wines.
Favorite U.S. airport: They all look the same to me. I just put my head down, burry myself in my iPad and catch up on Mad Men episodes.
Favorite hotel: I just spent some time at Qualia, a high-end resort on Hamilton Island, in Australia’s Whitsundays. It’s serene, sophisticated and extremely romantic. The grounds are stunning and it’s no wonder why Condé Nast Traveler magazine named it the Best Resort in the World.
Favorite Island: Zanzibar off the coast of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania is gorgeous with white sand beaches, fresh seafood and distinct local culture.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The quirky Toilet Restaurant in Taiwan. That’s right! What’s more elegant than eating curry while seated on actual toilet bowl? Fancy.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: There are so many great eats out there but for a classic hamburger, fries and vanilla milkshakes in a 50s dinner atmosphere, Apple Pan in Los Angeles is a fun choice.
Favorite fruit: Lychee.
Favorite food: Since I mentioned the burger at Apple Pan all I can think about is bacon cheeseburgers hmmm.
Least favorite food: Balut, an 18-day old fertilized duck egg served as a delicacy in the Philippines. I’ve eaten a ton of gross things in my time (slugs, scorpions, worms, guinea pig) and this is certainly my least favorite. Check out my story and pics here.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Water. Boring but you can’t beat it.
Favorite travel movie(s): Touristas. A gang of 20-something backpackers head to Brazil and get roped into an elaborate black market organ scene! This B-horror slasher flick is a fun watch, especially the underwater cave chase scene. Travel torture porn at it’s finest.
Favorite travel show(s): Anything Bourdain, An Idiot Abroad, Word Travels (two travel writers, including yours truly, travel the world on assignment and under deadline).
Favorite travel book(s): Really enjoyed Ryszard Kapuscinski’s “The Shadow of the Sun.” Read it while backpacking through Eastern Africa and loved it!
Right now I am reading: “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson.
5 things you bring on a plane: iPad with latest podcasts (Tim Ferris and NPR’s This American Life are my faves), magazines (usually takes me an entire flight to finish the Economist), laptop, snacks, water bottle.
What do you always seem to forget? My Bose noise-canceling head phones are amazing but I always seem to pack them in my check-in luggage instead of my carry-on. Argh.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? An oversized Toblerone chocolate bar, as big as a human toddler.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): TripIt, Uber, Airbnb, Instagram, Kayak, Airfarewatchdog.
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: Getting malaria while in rural Tanzania.
What’s your dream destination? Everest Base Camp, Nepal.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Skift, Afar and can’t forget a little self-indulgent plug for my own website: traveljunkiejulia.com.
Best travel tip: Go with the flow. Research in advance, but when you’re traveling allow for the universe to take you in new directions. Don’t let fear highjack your life. Say “Yes” to new experiences and always trust your instincts. Smile at strangers and always carry toilet paper.
Photo provided by: Travel Channel (UK)